We celebrated Tommys 89th birthday in June with a cake and lunch.The Manna Villa team and Manna staff sat in the pantry and enjoyed a cool lunch.
He was born in 1929 in Hilo Hawaii – (he is 3/4 pure Hawaiian)
From a family of 7 boys and 5 girls and when Tommy was 10 his parents adopted two more kids. That was a big family.
To help support the family he picked pineapples as a kid – He recollects carrying 25 pineapples in a sling over his arm / shoulder, 8 pineapples/crate – 5 cents a crate…..
He enlisted in the army in 1948 after high school. Tommy thought about going to college but alas his friends and the military services recruited him first.
He had spent many hours in an organization called FFA – Future Farmers of America – thinking that some day he would be a farmer in Hawaii.
In the US army he became a radio communications specialist and was shipped out to the conflict in Korea in 1950.
In the Korean War he served in a forward position to all troops establishing radio communication systems for Allied and American forces to communicate.
Tommy stayed in the military for 20 years ending his career as an instructor in 1969 in New Jersey
He moved back to Hilo and started his second career as a tour bus driver on the big island.
He did this for 20 years. (he has told many funny stories of bussing tourists around on holidays in Hawaii)
He moved to California with his wife in the early 90’s and has been volunteering at Manna and the senior center in Thousand Oaks for over 20 years.
Tommy comes in to Manna 4 days a week in the morning to sort / manage and rack all bread and pastry items that are handed out through the pantry or passed to another supporting agency.
He works closely with the Manna staff and especially the developmentally handicapped members of the Villa Esperanza services team that works at Manna 5 days a week.
He helps to keep the safe storage and flow of bread and pastries happen over three pantry days – every week of the year.
When Tommy is not at Manna he helps and attends to events at the Goebel Center in Thousand Oaks. He also enjoys his trips to Vegas with family and friends when they come to town.
Tommy has a quick wit and a keen eye for details. He keeps us on our toes and always has a way of making you laugh.
Tommy, you are an inspiration to us at Manna.
– Thank you for your continued volunteering support!!!